Larry Goldings, Peter Bernstein, Bill Stewart – Ramshackle Serenade – Pirouet Records (Germany) PIT3077, 62:31 ****:
(Larry Goldings – Hammond B-3 organ; Peter Bernstein – guitar; Bill Stewart – drums)
Many Hammond organ trios with guitar and drums rely primarily on the Hammond player to be “the star” and the primary focus of the group, especially since there is no saxophone to take lead. Not the case when you have a guitarist of the stature of Peter Bernstein. In my humble opinion, Peter is the leading light of today’s next generation of future guitar greats.
His playing is understated with the tastiness of Wes Montgomery. No need to be flashy when your fingering is fleet and commanding. Peter at a young age could hold his own with Dr. Lonnie Smith, which is saying something. Goldings is as adept on the piano as he is putting the Hammond through its paces. Well before age 30, Bill Stewart made a name for himself behind John Scofield and Maceo Parker.
On their newly issued CD on the German label, Pirouet, this talented trio play primarily their own compositions with an exception of Jobim’s “Luiza,” Horace Silver’s loved “Peace,” and the standard “Sweet and Lovely.”
Beginning with “Roach” (dedicated to Max?), the threesome has an ease and simpatico between members that brings to mind a well seasoned stew that has been percolating over a low heat all day. Stewart can be commanding, driving his mates at one moment, while taking a supporting role on “Luiza” while Peter works his magic. The title track’s repeating theme has a groove that eases itself into your unconscious. “Blue Sway” from Stewart finds Goldings and Bernstein locked into a groove while the cymbals swirl around the melody. Horace Silver’s closer, “Peace” does honors to the recently passed master, as Bernstein’s tender guitar lines bring a tear to the eye.
For late night listening, Ramshackle Serenade, can’t be beat…
TrackList: Roach, Luiza, Simple as That, Ramshackle Serenade, Mr. Meagles, Sweet and Lovely, Blues Sway, Useless Metaphor, Peace